Community Policing Alive and Well in Prince George’s County, Maryland
District I Community Resource Team targets problems effectively
By Karen L. Bune
Prince George’s County Maryland is no stranger to violent crime nor does it suffer from a lack of street
robberies or voluminous car thefts that plague the region on the border of the nation’s capitol. In attempting to meet the challenges that are presented by these constant and variable aspects of crime, the Prince George’s County Police Department has become a proactive entity that is goal driven to reduce crime in its large urban community.
Though the concept of
community policing has been emerging over time in different forms, it remains an ever changing phenomenon and the concept must be tailored to the needs of the community if it is to be successful. The Prince George’s County Maryland Police Department has taken a proactive stance by embracing community policing with a style out of the ordinary. The officers that comprise the Community Resource Teams (CRT)
are assigned to a specific area within the community. They do not work patrol but, instead, dedicate their efforts totally to their specific locality. They become well acquainted with the people who reside in their assigned areas, learn their concerns, and creatively work with the community to combat the challenging and varied facets of crime. They develop and implement a variety of strategies for targeted areas of concern.
On June 27, 2009, the District I Hyattsville CRT
engaged in a community outreach effort in the Langley Park area that has experienced a significant rate of crime revolving around car thefts and citizen robberies. Corporal Lisa Garland, Officer Donald Rickert, Officer Juan Damian, and Ms. Diana Rutstein
, of the team, hosted an educational seminar for Langley Park residents in an attempt to increase their knowledge and awareness about these crimes along with preventative measures they could take to lessen their
probability for criminal victimization.
The team collaborated with the Bank of America and provided information to residents about financial issues and opening bank accounts. The team also encouraged
citizens to register their cars in the “Watch Your Car” anti-theft program. Officers provided those who registered a club for their car. They also
discussed prevention strategies they could utilize to maximize the safety of their vehicles. “The “Watch Your Car”
program is a nationwide program where people can place a sticker on their vehicle, and if it is out after certain hours, it gives the police the automatic right to stop the driver,” says Major Daniel Dusseau, Commander of the District I station who oversees the CRT.
The CRT also interacted with residents and explained strategies they could employ for their
safety and educated them about the nature of street robberies. “Many people in the Langley Park area carry cash on them at all times because they receive their wages in cash and are in fear of opening bank accounts because of the possibility of their identity becoming known or because they are not aware of how the system works. Unfortunately, carrying substantial cash presents another problem. They become targets of robbery,” says
Major Daniel A. Dusseau.
Their concentrated efforts for the day proved successful. “Within three hours and with the assistance of Bank of America, we were able to register 44 cars into the program and sign up 5 people for new bank accounts. The individuals received carjacking information, clubs for their sign-up vehicles, and banking information. The objective was to help reduce auto thefts and citizen robberies within our area,” said
Sgt. Miranda D. Craig, the supervisor of the team.
The proactive and creative efforts of this team demonstrate that community policing is alive and
With the right approach and the concentrated focus on the appropriate issues within the community, concrete results can be the proven outcome. Such efforts are fueled by dedicated officers who relentlessly strive to make a continual and positive impact on public safety.
Copyright © 2009 Karen L. Bune
***Karen L. Bune is employed as a Victim Specialist in the State’s
Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County, Maryland. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and at Marymount University
in Arlington, Virginia where she teaches victimology. Ms. Bune serves as a consultant for the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U. S.
Department of Justice. She is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer. She is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and The
National Center for Crisis Management. She is also Board Certified in Domestic Violence. Ms. Bune received the 2007 Notable Alumni Award from the Dept. of Public Affairs, American
University, Washington, D. C. Ms. Bune appears in the 2009 edition of “Marquis Who’s Who in the World” and the 2009 edition of “Marquis Who’s Who in American Women.”
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GETS ATTENTION
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D.C. POLICE COMMANDER SOLBERG’S APOLOGY UNNECESSARY
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